Keep This Simple Tool In Your Pocket And Be More Confident When Public Speaking


Do you want something that costs ten cents, you can put in your pocket and it will give you confidence when speaking in front of people?

There’s only one thing worse than singing the wrong note, that’s singing it louder.

People proudly show me their videos for business - and speaking on video is public speaking - and I see the same things over and over again that simply shouldn’t be there. These errors detract from the core message. Ultimately they cost you money.

People would never include these things if they understood some fundamentals like 

  • the purpose of your video
  • the psychology of your audience
  • the mechanics of storytelling

To give you an example of the importance of understanding fundamentals I’m going to show you a great tool that solves the problem of what do I do if things go wrong and I’m just left standing there on stage. This is a fear that stops a lot of people speaking.

This was one of a series of emergency outs that I...

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Can You Learn, Unlearn and Relearn?


How good are you at dealing with change? There is a no more important question you can ask yourself as we move into the 2020’s.

Find change difficult? Let me introduce you to Frank. 

Frank built supermarkets and carwashes.

A no-nonsense, knockabout sort of guy 

Frank went everywhere with a hard hat, a roll of plans and a surveyor's ‘theodolite' under the other.

Frank was asked to submit a quote to build a temple

Not just any temple, the largest Taoist temple outside of mainland China, and it was just down the road from where he lives in Australia.

Frank thought this'll be a laugh so he drew up some plans. 

He didn't bargain on it but he got the job.

First though, the alignment ceremony.

What’s that? 

“We need to align the site to a spiritual energy axis of the water and the mountains,” the Taoists smiled.

Right said Frank. See you there 9 am Monday morning.

So Frank rolls up with his hard hat, his set of plans and his theodolite


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Attitude Matters On Video


Does how you mean to say it get lost in what you are trying to say?

A woman woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. "Well," she said, "I think I'll platt my hair today." So she did and she had a wonderful day. 

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "H-M-M," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today." So she did and she had a grand day. 

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, “I always wanted to wear my hair in a ponytail." So she did, and she had a top day. 

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. "YAY!" she exclaimed. "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Hasn't she got a great attitude? More importantly, how well do you respond to someone with a great attitude? It inspires me to action.

I see a...

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The Easiest Way To Build Rapport In Your Videos


A pair of socks helped me make more effective videos that people wanted to watch.

The Army’s simple strategy involves tearing you down to nothing then rebuilding you. They take everything you arrive with, even your hair. Then they start taking away everything they gave you when you arrived like pillows, blankets, ashtrays, towels and little by little, like lab rats, you learnt that if you pushed the wrong button you got a zap and the right button got you a pellet of corn. I could accept that. In return they had to accept just one thing: they couldn’t have my sense of humour and there was much to laugh at, unannounced locker inspections for one.

 Any one item out of place resulted in the contents of your locker being ripped out and tossed to the floor. This gave you the ‘opportunity’ to start afresh.  I actually like being neat and tidy and ordered. Mine was a model locker, faultless to a point or so I thought. For this character trait I expected...

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What Do Magic Tricks, Grandmas Cooking and Smartphone Videos Have In Common


A woman was preparing a leg roast. She sawed the end of the bone off. Why do you do that she was asked?

“Because it makes it taste better.” Really? “Yes, my mother taught me that.”

They went to her mother and asked where’d you learn this secret? She said she learned it from her mother. 

They went to the grandmother and asked the same question. She said, she too, had learned it from her mother.

The great-grandmother was still alive so they went to her.

Why does sawing the end off a leg roast make it taste better?

The great-grandmother said, “Well I don’t know about the taste but - and she spreads her hands twelve inches apart - my oven was only this big.”

Do you know why magicians protect their secrets?

Their code of secrecy is not to protect them, it’s to protect you, the audience, from disappointment. Much of magic operates on basic physics principles you would learn in the first year of high school.  

We hope that the...

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Can I Look And Sound Comfortable And Confident On Video?


When I first started performing magic I used to busk to get experience. It was scary. I would stand in the busy tourist square at Southbank in Brisbane, start making some noise, calling to people who were busy going elsewhere.

Once I had one, then it was three and so the crowd would build.

During the show, I would stand on my case to get higher so more people could see what I was doing. It was then that I saw them. Usually two, maybe be three. Men more so than women. They stood there, a little back from the group, arms folded. Silent sentinels studying me, my every move. I knew who they were. 

They were me, ten years earlier.

I would watch these street performers and marvel at how they could gather a crowd and keep them there. It was a real mystery to me.

Over time I learned the strategies and tactics. None of this was random. It was planned. It was definitely something I could learn. It is teachable.

So if you wonder if you could present yourself comfortably and confidently in...

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What Words Do You Want Spoken About You When You Die?

Senator John McCain died three days ago. Have you noticed the common words used to describe him? A man of moral courage seems to sum him up.

I randomly chose an article from my news feed and pulled these words from this one Forbes story. It reminded me that what will be said at my funeral is directly related to the life I am leading right now. Time to get cracking and live the life you want rather than the life you've accepted.

deep sense of right and wrong
moral courage
human decency
refusal to diminish or dehumanize people
affect positive change

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Don’t You Type At Me In That Tone Of Voice!


When was the last time you misinterpreted a written message? 

How many times have you had to explain ‘it’s not what I meant when I wrote that.’

I was listening to Seth Godin’s podcast called Akimbo and he was talking about the concept of faux intimacy, you know, when a business sends you a generic printed birthday card in a misguided attempt to infer they have a relationship with you, and it got me thinking.

When we read, the faux intimacy of print means the reader hears the words in their head in their own voice. So if the voice in their head is one of negativity and resistance to change then it is possible they might ‘hear’ your email in a way you didn’t intend it to be heard. The result is confusion which is likely to be the opposite of the clarity you were aiming for.

However, the faux intimacy of video means the listener hears the words in your voice. Video delivers the message in the tone you intended.

So, save yourself time and...

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Want People To Trust You MORE In Your Videos Then Do LESS Of This One Thing


Videos are being used more and more to screen job applicants. How trustworthy you appear on video is critical.

How do you rate your KLT factor in real life? That’s your Know Like Trust factor. The more people know, like and trust you:

  • the more likely they are to want to be a part of your circle of influence, 
  • the more likely they are to follow your directives if you are a leader, 
  • the more likely they are to want to do business with you. 

Video is great for building KLT because it lets human interactions happen when you’re not there. It’s convenient. Both for the maker and the viewer. 

The problem can be that our desire for convenience as the maker can get in the way of the effectiveness of our message.

Here’s one simple thing you can do to mimic the trust we have in face to face meetings that can sometimes be lost in the artifice of video.

Stop hand holding your smartphone

Hand holding is comfortable. It’s easy. It’s...

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2 Ways To Immediately Look Better (And More Professional) On Video


Little hinges swing big doors. Sometimes small things can have a big effect. Here are two small tweaks you can make when presenting your videos that add value way beyond the effort involved.

NOTE: Sometimes you have to break the rules, or the rules will end up breaking you. Given that, remember that what I tell you here is not chiselled in stone. Start with these ideas and experiment.

Eye to Eye

How many times have you watched a video of someone speaking, they have their earbuds in and their laptop that is recording the video is on the desk, with the inbuilt webcam pointing up at them. Sometimes they are sitting on their couch with the laptop or tablet on their knees. I get it. You have to find somewhere quiet, away from the family. Just getting a quiet spot and the video recording is an achievement at times.

image: Shutterstock

Two things are happening here. 

First, you are sending a subliminal message to your viewer that your comfort is more important than theirs. You...

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